April 3, 2018
What a wonderful Sabbath Esther and I had on March 17. We began our day at Philadelphian church, by attending the inspiring worship service which concluded a two-week evangelistic meetings presented by Dr. Carlton Byrd, Breath of Life Ministries. Wow! This was an uplifting experience with joyful music, a reassuring message of salvation in Jesus Christ and an inspirational baptismal ceremony of 33 people joining the “Church of Brotherly and Sisterly Love: Where Love Hopes, Heals, and Helps,” as the members of this church identify and guests and visitors verify. Kudos to Pastor David Zaid and his pastoral team for the awesome spiritual impact made in the city of Long Beach.
Then we headed to Pasadena to the organization of the Light Above Seventh-day Adventist group attaining the status of Company where 85 committed church members took higher responsibilities in this mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of the Three Angels Messages. Back in 2002, a handful group of mission-oriented Seventh-day Adventist church members decided to plant a church for the Visayan speaking people of Philippines.
The week of March 19-22, I attended the Pacific Union Conference Spring meetings. At these meetings, conference leaders of this Union (conference and college/university presidents) get together to address matters pertinent to the mission of the Church in this Union territory. Among the items to address are initiatives presented, reports received, leaders appointed for vacant positions in Union leadership or ministries posts, funds distributed for evangelism and capital improvement, etc. (more details in the next issue of the Pacific Union Recorder magazine). Overall, the mission of the Church across the conferences in this Union is carried in unity using distinctive methodologies and different approaches for diverse communities.
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit the Pomona Valley Spanish church, and we had an enjoyable experience in worship and Christian fellowship, and we all were blessed. I started my message acknowledging what was happening across our nation that very morning, especially in Washington D.C.: hundreds of thousands of people got together to march as an act of protest for INACTION regarding gun control, basically saying enough is enough to this type of violence. Then my message that day for that congregation was encouraging them to be a church that makes the difference in their community, presenting a Savior who will come to bring peace among the nations, but in the meantime can bring peace to our troubled hearts.
I conclude with the words of Jesus to His disciples: “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” I invite you to share this e-newsletter with those who are part of this large family in Southern California Conference, and invite them to subscribe by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/cPsc1L.
In His grip of grace,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference
April 17, 2018
The week of March 26-29, our SCC office personnel had our Spring Week of Prayer. Elder Injong Moon, Cerritos Korean SDA Church pastor, presented four inspirational messages calling our attention to our Christian duty as followers of Jesus to take care of our children, our young adults, our elderly people, and the immigrants in our communities. We were greatly blessed, and we learned a few words in Korean: “yesu saranghaeyo,” which means “I love Jesus,” and “jjang,” which is slang for “cool.”
By the way, for those who do not know, for the last 12 years, the SCC office personnel has been having two weeks of prayer per year. These meetings are presented by our SCC pastors who have done an excellent job always inviting us all to look at Jesus as the ultimate leader of this conference.
The first four days of April, I was delighted to attend Adventist WestPoint in Long Beach, CA. These lectures were organized by the Pacific Union Conference Ministerial office. Since you may already have heard about it through the Pacific Union’s weekly video program, “All God’s People,” presented by Connie Jeffery, I will not say much about it, just that those who attended were truly blessed.
The first weekend of April, Esther and I went to visit our daughter Melissa, who teaches fourth and fifth grades at South Bend Junior Academy in the Indiana Conference. We had a wonderful time with her and her new community, especially with the church and school leadership. Although the school is small, their enrollment is growing slowly but steadily with solid projections for expansion. I was positively impressed how the church and school leaders spend time together planning and working toward the growth of both institutions.
Last week was a kind of classic week with appointments with church members and employees along with meetings for standing committees we have here in the office. Thursday at noon, I headed to La Sierra University to participate in an interview done by WASC the Western Associations of Schools and Colleges (WASC) as part of the accreditation process. The following morning, the WASC team gave the University Board of Trustees and campus family their positive Exit Report with their commendations and recommendations as result of this visit. The complete report will be delivered to the LSU leadership in a few weeks. Congratulations to LSU leadership for the hard work in preparation for this visit to retain LSU accreditation status.
Last Saturday was a day with mixed emotions. With great joy, Esther and I had the opportunity to worship with the Panorama Spanish SDA Church. Elder Carlos Varona invited me to visit his church and help him to promote Adventist Christian education. I was more than happy to accept his invitation and highlight the importance of having Adventist Christian teachers as allies to educate our children. I made an appeal to the parents to consider sending their children to our Adventist schools.
In the afternoon with sadness, we attended the Celebration of Life of Roschelle Ray-ee Lu Fisher, Elder Cary Fisher’s wife who passed on March 27, 2018. The Glendale City SDA Church sanctuary was packed with Roschelle’s family, friends, classmates, coworkers and church members. It was a simple, meaningful and very comforting service honoring this beautiful person who was a devoted follower of Jesus. Let’s keep our dear pastor Cary, and precious children Johanna, Ella, and Grant, in our prayers.
That evening, we ended our day remembering Jesus’ words of hope and encouragement in our hearts: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Dear Cary and children, yes, your brothers and sisters believe in these words, and Jesus will come and reunite you with your beloved Roschelle.
In the Blessed Hope,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference